ACCIES emerged with all the plaudits in a win that keeps a British and Irish Cup place next season alive and dented the challenge of the champions.
Melrose almost snatched victory in the final minutes but Accies won the try count 3-1.
New Melrose coach John Dalziel said: “We started really well [two penalties in the opening seven minutes] and did have our chances to win but we just did not keep hold of the ball. But all credit to Accies, for they forced us to make mistakes.”
The Accies pack put Melrose under a lot of pressure, with captain Dan Teague outstanding and ex-Borders men, Iain Berthinussen (Gala) and the Godsmark twins (Selkirk), all contributing to a successful day.
Teague led his side by example, scoring a try, and keeping Melrose on the back foot, and with a 20-9 lead, Accies seemed to be out of sight.
But Melrose stayed in contention with a combination of Alun Walker’s try and the kicking of Andrew Skeen, who was positioned for a drop-goal attempt near the end but never received the ball.
Accies’ other tries came from Ryan Godsmark and Berthinussen, while Ruaridh Bonner kicked a conversion and penalty to add to three Melrose penalties (Skeen, 2, Joe Helps) and a Skeen conversion.